Posts Tagged ‘brad haddin’
Ricky Ponting may bridle at the excesses of the English sledging, but what is a player supposed to do if a clumsy, angry-looking man wearing a toupee comes running towards them? Perhaps Ponting would accept a special dispensation to allow players to sledge opponents with tonsorial supplements? If there is any doubt about whether the victim is follicly enhanced then simply refer it to the third umpire who will examine the ‘hot spot’ footage to make a judgement. Like so:
P.S Rain – you are not my friend any more.
If Ricky Ponting and Andrew Strauss were boxers and the first day of the current test was a fight, then the Australian captain‘s flouncing complaints about the English sledging would be equivalent to moaning that “things had got a bit physical” in the ring, or “someone might get hurt”. Sledging is now an integral part of the game. The Australians invented it, the laws were codified by the Marquess of Stevewaugh in the late 1990s. There are degree courses offered in it. They teach it in schools to try to get the kids off the streets where the more brutal and unsupervised forms of sledging can lead to serious mental disintegration. The children are taught that the only boundaries that exist in sledging concerns insults regarding an opponent’s mother, wife or sister. Anything other than that is allowed, or ‘fair dinkum’ to use the correct jargon.
Doug Bollinger is the current poster boy of the Australian sledging movement. His whole whitewashed face is one big sledge against humanity. It is the only reason he has been selected. It definitely isn’t for his bowling.
They say that should a nuclear apocalypse befall the world the only survivors will be cockroaches and Australian cricketers. The proved their resilience on Friday. I was out to dinner, relying on the internet inside my friend’s phone. We told him to sheath it at 68-4 after 10, safe in the knowledge that the Australians had been finally vanquished, but when he told us the eventual result, I spat out my pudding. Made a right Eton Mess of my trousers. Anyway, I digress. Here are the player profiles for the probable line-up for today’s final:
David Warner: If the Australian cricket team were a lovable bunch of street urchins, then he’d be the little chippy one they call ‘Rat’, who they send down manholes and stuff. If they were a crew of a World War 2 bomber, then he’d be the one stationed in the little ball thing on the undercarriage. He’s small, basically.
Shane Watson: Has the same beady-eyed intensity as Patrick Swayze in Point Break. Probably knows what end of a surfboard to hold. Deserves kudos for that if nothing else.
Brad Haddin: Will never replace Adam Gilchrist. Seems to have realised this and is now trying to replace Ian Healy instead.
Michael Clarke: Has a strike rate of 74.71 in this tournament, which means that he may as well not bother. The most entertaining thing about his time at the crease is watching the faces of the rest of his team in the bus shelter and wondering if one of them will finally stand up and tell him to get out – the ultimate cricketing taboo.
David Hussey: The more horse-faced of the Hussey brothers. Seems destined to live permanently in the shadow of the human-faced Michael.
Cameron White: Hits the ball quite hard. Has hit nearly twice as many sixes as fours in the competition. Well done Cameron.
Michael Hussey: Undoubtedly the best no.7 in international Twenty20 cricket. Seems a bit more cuddly than his brother. If the Husseys were the Miliband brothers, then Mike would be Ed and David would be er, David.
Steve Smith: Has a disagreeably pudgy face, that looks like it has grown up telling Donald ‘Flathead’ Fisher to ‘rack off’.
Mitchell Johnson: Like Stuart Broad, has had the new ball kept away from him. Should be reminded that in Twenty20 cricket that the ball is always new.
Shaun Tait: Sometimes gets it right, sometimes gets it hilariously wrong. An economy rate of 4.98 throughout the tournament suggests that he has mainly got it right this time round.
Dirk Nannes: The Australian that everybody is allowed to like, although the tales of his extra-cricket activities are beginning to pall. I like him because he looks like my friend Steve.
One of the more endearing things about cricket is its habitual descent into chaos. So when Matt Prior’s back went spastic during a warm-up game of football before the start of play, the ensuing shambles was not only entertaining but entirely expected. It’s an anomaly of test matches that when a wicket-keeper injures himself the contingency plans are much easier executed by the touring side than the home team. Hence when Brad Haddin cracked his finger last week the gloves were immediately tossed to an eager Graham Manou. But when Andrew Strauss watched as Prior was helped off, the alarms bells began to echo those in the England hotel last night.
Paul Collingwood took to the outfield and rehearsed his role as Prior’s understudy. He has stepped up before after all. And he enjoyed himself. He was laughing. But we were playing the West Indies at home which these days can be pretty hilarious. This is different. And then a call was put through to Timmy Ambrose down at Edgbaston. That’s quite a long way away. And the traffic can be murder on the motorway. And Headingley can be difficult to find and the parking isn’t great.
Thank the Lordy then that Prior saw the light and pulled through. And even better it seemed when Strauss won the toss and chose to bat to allow Prior to hobble off towards the nearest masseuse. But just as he was settling in to something deep and aromatic the call came to pad up and join the fray.
I can’t really remember a worse day for England since Kingston and Jerome Taylor. Which wasn’t that long ago actually but you try and forget these things. The Aussies bowled well, particularly Stuart Clark. Clark is by a distance my favourite current Australian cricketer: it’s mainly the dopey grin he wears when he takes a wicket – reminiscent of a large benign Doberman who’s just fetched a Frisbee for his master. It strikes me as vaguely appalling that he is also estate agent, because in my experience they are all evil. Maybe he’s one of the nice ones. The nice one.
I can’t really think what Clark did to be rewarded with Gatorade-dispensing duties for the first part of this summer. Maybe he sold Ricky Ponting a house that turned out to be rubbish.
Ponting had great fun pushing down on the knife that his bowlers had thrust into England’s chest. It’s almost a truism now to say that the jeering the accompanies his walk to the crease is moronic. Apart from anything else it just encourages the man. You could almost see it written on his face as he wheeled around for one of those trademark pulls to hit Graham Onions’ first ball for six. Boo that ladies and gentlemen. Boo that.
The prolonged rain breaks during the Edgbaston test afforded me the opportunity to get my calculator out for a spot of statistical analysis. There were three players called Graham or Graeme playing in the test match that finished today. That’s an astounding 14% of all the players involved in the game. The next best is Andrew at 9%.
England have had a rich tradition of Grahams and Graemes in their recent history: Gooch, Hick and Thorpe. And Graemes and Grahams have prospered the world over. South African captain Graeme Smith is currently residing in the Top 10 of both test and ODI batting rankings. Compatriot Graeme Pollock was considered by Don Bradman as the best left-handed batsmen he’d seen. One can only imagine what further heights the Don would have achieved had Mr and Mrs Bradman christened him Graeme or Graham. He’d have definitely averaged over 100.
Before Graham Manou hurriedly slipped on Brad Haddin’s baggy green wicket-keeping gloves, Australia were faithfully served by Graham Yallop as captain during the torrid World Series years.
In fact the only corners of the cricketing universe where Graemes or Grahams have not been successful are in the Caribbean and the sub-continent. Although I feel positive that we won’t have to wait too long before we behold a Graeme Tendulkar or a Graham Muralitharan.
The reason for this post is that I am asking for funding into research into what precisely makes Grahams or Graemes such talented cricketers. Once I have found this essence, then we can proceed in creating future Grahams or Graemes to conquer the world of cricket. I fully believe that in a generation’s time we could see an entire eleven of Grahams or Graemes taking the field in an international match. It’s a thrilling prospect.
Who’s with me?
I had so much fun ambling around Phil Hughes’ website the other day, it occurred to me that similar pleasures were on offer on the sites of other members of the Australia squad. I reckon that I wiled away 10 minutes clicking about on the Hughes site, so by my calculations with a eleven blokes in a team there could be around another 100 minutes of entertainment available. Which is about half a Hollyoaks omnibus. So well worth it.
This is what I found, let’s start at the top:
Simon Katich: Katich doesn’t have website that I can find. He probably doesn’t know what the internet is, or if he does, he still calls it cyberspace.
Ricky Ponting: Richard seems to have bypassed the traditional website route and got himself one of those Facebook pages complete with a lovely picture of him and his new hair. His suspiciously regular updates are fulsomely commented on by people who obviously don’t know a lot about cricket. Like this obnoxious and agrammatical effort: “Im english but i can’t help but like you. Hope you guys come back in the next test and make it a really close contest, there is nothing like an Ashes test series! :)”. I couldn’t spot a single comment that said: ‘Ponting, you’re a cunt” which there clearly would be if an actual cricket fan had ventured their opinion, including Australian ones.
Mike Hussey: there’s a lot of interesting stuff on here about his career as Professor of Financial Economics at the University of Maine. In retrospect I think this might be a different Mike Hussey but if you’re at all interested in financial economics definitely worth a look.
Michael Clarke: I could only find a fansite that looks like it’s been written by someone who speaks in tongues. I also had never noticed that Clarke look strikingly similar to former Blue Peter presenter Stuart Miles so that is nice.
Marcus North: No. Clearly no. Although I did find a site for the Marcus North Shore cinema in Wisconsin. They’re currently running a season of flims about quite dull middle-order batsmen.
Brad Haddin: No. Nothing that even sounds lamely like Brad Haddin.
Mitchell Johnson: Nope. There is a Mitchell Johnson Financial Services though. And the first four results on the Google image search inadvertently creates the easiest odd one out round ever:
One of these men is an actual serial killer.
Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus: not so much as a Twitter account between them. Poor show.
So Phil Hughes is the only Australian cricketer in the Lords starting XI to have his own website which means that this post is a bit of a waste of time. Arguably they all are. I should have stuck to watching Hollyoaks.
Even at the very end there were visions of hell. What if Ben Hilfenhaus was magically imbued with the talents of Don Bradman or Steve Waugh or Monty Panesar and he and Mitchell Johnson could guide their team to green-gold heaven? It could happen.
But it didn’t. For the first time since 1934 they beat the Australians at Lords. Just to put that into some sort of chronological perspective Tom Watson wasn’t even born then. And he’s well old.
I couldn’t contain my excitement and abandoned the covert operation that I had mounted to follow the final morning in the office. It was probably the squeaking after the Haddin wicket that alerted my colleagues that my mind was wafting up the Jubilee Line towards St. Johns Wood. The odd punch up to the ceiling raised suspicion. And nothing says you’re not concentrating on your work than flouncing towards the middle of the room, spreading your arms wide like Flintoff and announcing that you are very, very happy.
To be fair I was very happy. Not really because we have broken the curse. But because we were so awful at Cardiff, I genuinely couldn’t see England winning anywhere in this series, let alone Lords. I know that a similar pattern emerged in 2005, but that was a different team.
Except Flintoff. Only the sixth man to find his name on both honours boards at Lords, he deserves his own special honours board for being awesome at the Ashes. Or an OBE for services to fucking on the Aussies. And for the most tear-jerking display of earnest hugging I’ve ever witnessed.
I can only hope that he can put himself back together again for Edgbaston and the rest of the series. Because with the ongoing fitness concerns over Kevin Pietersen, this could be something of a Pyrrhic victory. I’d be very satisfied if summer finished tomorrow and a freak monsoon season set in for a couple of months. Sorry, my pessimism is chronic. Even as the open-top bus crawled along Whitehall last time round I could only think that we were riling up the Australians.
To be fair, I was right.